If You Aren't Interested In Romantic Relationships, This Could Be The Reason Why

A person's understanding of love changes as they mature, but American pop culture has always had a heavy influence on how to view love, according to The Daily Clog. And what it teaches is love and romance go hand in hand. Consider Jack and Rose from "Titanic," who exchange words of undying love while stranded in the freezing Atlantic Ocean against the backdrop of a shipwreck. While much of the film's audience, especially alloromantics, view this scene as the model of bittersweet romance, there are many people who don't. You are not alone if you are put off by romantic displays of affection, such as kissing or holding hands. Seeing these behaviors as red flags does not make you weird; it may just indicate that you are aromantic.

According to the Aromantic-Spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy (AUREA), aromanticism is an orientation that describes people who have little to no interest in romantic attraction to others. For example, aromantic people may prefer not to hug, cuddle, or say affirming words to their partners. This does not mean, however, that all aromantic people don't also have the ability to feel intense love and emotional connections, or even desire sexual intimacy (via WebMD). Here's what to expect from an aromantic relationship.

What does an aromantic relationship look like?

For an aromantic relationship to work, both partners need to be honest and realistic about their boundaries. Even if your aromantic partner supports you wholeheartedly in your endeavors and is committed to raising a family with you, they may not want to spend every night cuddling with you, send you flowers on Valentine's Day, or engage in other behaviors that are typically considered romantic.

An aromantic relationship can, however, include varying degrees of sexual intimacy, says AASECT-certified clinical sexologist and relationship coach Dr. Debra Laino, because being aromantic does not necessarily mean you are asexual (via Women's Health). Those who identify as asexual, as defined by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, experience no sexual attraction. In contrast, aromantic people may experience sexual attraction, but it is not romantic in nature.

Having a lack of romantic feelings does not mean an aromantic is incapable of feeling and expressing love. BetterHelp notes, "You can love your parents, your children, and your friends. All these relationships include valid expressions of love; they're just not expressions of romantic love." It's important to view aromanticism as a spectrum. What defines one aromantic may not define another.

The spectrum of aromanticism

Aromanticism can be represented on a continuum showing varying degrees of desires and choices, according to Verywell Mind. People who are gray-romantic, for example, seldom experience romantic attraction and fall halfway between the aromantic and romantic identities. Meanwhile, demiromantic individuals can only form romantic feelings for another person once they have formed an emotional link with them. On the other end of the spectrum are lithromantics, who may have romantic sentiments for others but do not want their feelings to be reciprocated for fear of the attraction fading. Recipromantic persons only feel passionate about someone if they know that person feels the same way about them.

At the end of the day, aromanticism is not a one-size-fits-all term that comprehensively captures all the shades of romantic orientation, according to BetterHelp. Human beings are complicated, and their orientations and choices are heavily influenced by many factors. Aromanticism, as an identity, explains dispositions and preferences when it comes to love, not whether or not a person wants to experience love. With this understanding in mind, aromantic partnerships can flourish.